How to build a successful Twitter presence for your small online business

twitter for small businessWith 302 million monthly active users, Twitter still has plenty to offer small businesses. It’s a great tool for promoting awareness, driving traffic to your site, generating sales, engaging with customers and building your brand personality. Of course, as with any social media platform, in order to be successful you need to be following best practice and have set yourself clear goals. Otherwise you could be investing valuable time and effort with little to show in return.

What do you want to achieve?

Twitter can successfully work as part of a wider integrated marketing strategy. According to small business research, 60% of respondents have purchased from small and medium businesses because of Twitter.

But to be successful it is important that you define and prioritise your goals.  If you’re busily tweeting away with no clear sense of purpose the benefits are unlikely to match the time and effort you may be putting in.

So think about what your key business objectives are. For example are you looking to:

  • Build followers.
  • Increase engagement amongst target audience.
  • Grow awareness of your brand.
  • Generate sales leads.
  • Drive traffic to your site.

The clearer your are about what it is you want to achieve the more focused you can be in your approach to your Twitter activities.

We’ve put together some easy to implement best practice tips to help you make the most of your Twitter presence.

Getting off to a good start

If you’re not already using Twitter then getting off to a good start is important. Once you’ve signed up you’ll need to create your username (also known as your Twitter handle). For example ours is @shopintegrator. Then you’ll create a profile bio, add a profile pic – these should succinctly reflect your business. Next its time to start looking for the right people to follow – which of course will be dependent upon the industry and business you are in.

Check out Twitter’s own business resource Twitter For Business. You’ll find plenty of useful advice to get you off to a confident start.

Tweeting essentials

  • Include the Twitter ‘Follow Us’ button on your website.
  • Tweet regularly but ensure it is something worth sharing.
  • Keep your brand’s personality and voice consistent in your Tweets.
  • Don’t make it all about you. Share links and retweet anything that will be of interest to your followers.
  • Don’t use up all your 140 characters. You’ll want to leave enough room for people retweet.
  • Use hashtags but don’t go mad. One or two per tweet is probably about right.
  • Recycle your best tweets with some re-wording. Research shows that a repeated tweet can get as much as 86% performance as the original tweet.
  • Promote your Twitter username online and offline

visual contant on TwitterIncrease your visual content

As visual content becomes increasingly important within social media, try to include more images and photos in your Tweets. According to HubSpotTweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets – so it’s definitely one to think about. Remember though, when you are posting images they count as a link and so will automatically use up 22 characters.  Keep your tweets extra concise to allow for re-tweeting.

Videos are also a great way to capture and engage an audience. Since January this year iPhone and Android Twitter users can actually capture, edit and share videos of up to 30 seconds duration on Twitter.

Share interesting and varied content

Twitter isn’t just about relentlessly pushing your own agenda. You need to mix up your content so it is varied and interesting. If you’re stuck here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Eye-catching images and videos.
  • Links to your blog articles.
  • Latest industry news and titbits.
  • Behind the scenes peeks at your business photos.
  • Funny and inspiring quotes.
  • Start conversations by posing questions.
  • Product launches.
  • Industry statistics.
  • Latest trends.
  • Ask advice.
  • Share tips and recommendations.

Social on TwitterBe social

“80% of your Tweets should focus on driving interactions with your followers, such as retweets, replies, and favourites.” Twitter for Business

Central to your Twitter success is building a genuine rapport with your followers. Try using Twitter’s 80/20 ratio. Don’t just bombard your followers with tweets that push your businesses products and services. 80% of your tweets should be sharing links, retweeting and joining conversations.

You are trying to show the person behind  your business so always take a friendly and positive approach to your interactions.

Measure your performance

Don’t just tweet merrily away without taking a step back to analyse your performance. Twitter Analytics is worth spending some time getting familiar with. The Twitter dashboard can give you all sorts of interesting information about how you are doing. For example:

  • At a glance 28 day summary: Tweets sent, profile visit, mentions, new followers, top tweet, top mention and top followers.
  • Tweets: Impressions, engagement, retweets, replies and link clicks.
  • Follower insights. Interests, location, gender and who your followers are following.

Digging a bit deeper into how you are performing and getting to know who is following you will enable you to better focus your Twitter efforts.

Following best practice and implementing even just some of the tips we’ve talked about will help your business get more out of Twitter. We’d love to hear your own thoughts and experiences on Twitter so please do leave a comment.

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How small online businesses can create top visual content on Facebook and increase engagement

twitter-292994_640Social media platforms and visual content are now so intrinsically linked that if you are not optimising your Facebook posts then chances are your small business isn’t going to be getting the degree of engagement it could.

This article takes a look at how, with a good mix of visual content and some clever tools, you can create a more successful Facebook presence.

The rise of the visual

With 1.4 billion users Facebook maintains its position as the market leading social network. Therefore as a small businesses owner Facebook is still going to be a key platform from which to market your business. However in order to fully engage an audience you need to make sure you are using the best tactics.

Visuals have the huge benefit of conveying an idea almost immediately, helping break through the masses of online content people have to wade through on a daily basis. I believe this contributes to the phenomenal growth in visual content over the last few years. Research has shows that the use of visual content in social media increased by 70% in 2014.

As I mentioned at the beginning, the key to growing your Facebook audience is to engage them. Visual content makes a considerable impact on increasing engagement.

Posts with visuals receive 94% more page visits and engagement than those without.

How to create a top-notch visual presence on Facebook

An impressive 2,460,000 pieces of content are shared every minute on Facebook. So, what will help your business stand out amongst this vast ocean of content? Using visuals to support your activity, here are 5 key tips that I recommend to help your small business create enriched posts.

1. Inspiring photos and images

According to research, images and photos are the most important tactic you can use to optimise your social media posts. But just adding any old run of the mill stock image isn’t really going to cut it. You need to source photos and images that are interesting and relevant to your audience and the subject in hand. It is worth spending some time getting the right image for your post.

Sourcing images 

Try to be creative when you are sourcing visuals and avoid using bland stock photos that everyone has seen before (you know the ones I mean – smiling business people in suits shaking hands) and try for something more interesting to support the content you are posting. Look for bright, eye-catching images that will still stand out even when they’re viewed at a smaller size.

There are number of online sites where you can source some great, reasonably priced images. Try Dreamstime, iStockphoto and Shutterstock. Alternatively sites like freedigitalphotos.net provide free images as long as you include an attribution wherever you use the image. You are also allowed to use images that are in the public domain and cleared for commercial use for free and without an attribution. Pixabay has a good selection of just such images.

visual contentOriginal photography

If you can commission your own photos then all the better. Particularly if you are showcasing your own products and services. ‘Lifestyle’ images of your products in use can have a stronger impact than just standard product shots. Try taking some ‘behind the scenes’ photos of your business. These are great way of giving your audience the opportunity to see the personality and ideas behind what makes your business unique.

2. Be creative with content

There are some really effective ways to be creative with your text-based content. And all the more importantly you don’t need a big budget or to be proficient in Photoshop to implement them. There are some excellent create image creation tools available. A number of which offer some great free options. For example, try Recite.com if you want to visualise a quote or interesting fact. It’s free and simple to use. Here is one I created in just a few moments.

image creation tools

 

Other great tools I’ve come across include PicMonkey and Canva which lets you add text to images. Skitch is also well worth a look as it enables you to draw over images using annotation, shapes and sketches – a great way to emphasise a particular point.

3. Include Infographics

Infographics are a fantastic way to convey numerical information like statistics and research. It makes text-based content far more digestible and visually appealing to an audience. Don’t just take my word for it, research shows that:

Cutting costs for business infographic

Creating great infographics  doesn’t automatically require special knowledge or a huge budget.  There are some good point and click online tools available with an assortment of ready-made templates that make it simple for you to DIY.  Check out Piktochart and Easel.ly.

share videos on social media4. Upload videos directly to Facebook

Video enhances your visual offerings on Facebook. Video continues to grow in popularity right across the globe with 8333 videos shared every minute. This is reflected in the impressive rise in video content on Facebook specifically. Since June 2014 Facebook has averaged more than 1 billion video views every day.

There are some great ways you can use video to your advantage. Try posting video tutorials, behind the scenes peeks of your business, how to guides, showcase your product or service in real life situations and scenarios or show how a product is crafted.

Try iMovie or Movie Maker for DIY video editing software or WeVideo and Animoto for online creation platforms.

 

These are just a few tips on how to incorporate visual content into Facebook. However it is worth looking at how you can improve your visual content across all your social media platforms. Visual content is a key trend for 2015 and I suspect it will remain that way for a good while yet.

I’d really love to hear how you’ve implemented more visual content into  your posts and what’s proved successful and not so successful. So please do leave a comment below or tweet me @ShopIntegrator.